"Carter- sweet Carter. I don’t know much about him, cognitively, because he’s pretty quiet. He’s walking now, with the walker, and he focuses on that when he’s in the halls. He seems to watch the other kids quite a bit, probably to make sure they’re not going to knock him over! He seems very sweet though, and cooperative. I’ll keep my eyes open for him when we’re there the next few weeks and if I find out anything new, I’ll update it here. http://reecesrainbow.org/15753/carter3907
" And I finally got to interact with Carter!!!! Oh I want him- he’s a little snuggle bug! He’s so sweet and cuddly looking and he has the most precious smile I have ever seen on a little boy. He came out of the room with his walker and just kind of looked around. This was the first time we’ve really gotten to see him very long. He saw us and initiated a smile first- and of course we smiled back. He is adorable- he still has some baby fat in his cheeks- and he moves so well. You can’t tell it in the picture, but his feet actually flip completely in. He walks on the side of his feet and his ankle and then flicks his feet underneath him. Give the boy some therapy and braces and he’ll be off. He’s a happy kid- and again, must be smart to be in the class he’s in. He’s a little guy- maybe the size of a 5 year old? Very cute.
"Carter doesn’t want a stuffed bear.
Marcus doesn’t want someone wishing him a happy day
They just want, no they NEED, a mom and a dad.
" I can see Carter, learning to ride a bike, with daddy holding onto the seat and siblings cheering at the top of their lungs, him holding his breath and shouting for joy after a crash landing
"Carter, the one I've described as sweet and shy? Not today! He is hilarious!!!! He came be-bopping out of the lunchroom, clipping along at a fast past using his walker (and totally walking on the inside of his ankles, with his feet sliding alongside), snuck up behind another little boy in a wheelchair that we just adore, who we can call Derek With The Mohawk (not really but he has standy-uppy hair and the narrow tall head of preemiehood or hydroceph, but is super stinky smart- seriously. Very very smart). So Carter slides up behind him, socks not making a sound and lets loose a "BOOOOOOOO!" that made hubby and I jump and we were watching the whole thing. I did not think that child had a holler like that in him!! LOL- we laughed five minutes- Derek laughed with Carter and they joked around, and suddenly I knew- Carter needs a family with a brother his age. He LOVES to play. Because he's been so quiet, I didn't know how friendly he was with the other kids, but today, we sat outside the director's office for about 45 minutes and let me just tell you, Carter is a sweetheart and he will make April's Fools Day a day of laughter! I still want to sneak him out of here in my suitcase!
"Today, God gave us a show that beat any comedy routine we've seen. Alexis rapping. Pryce watching us like he wasn't sure if we would sprout wings and fly. Tyler using his full dramatic efforts to persuade the facilitator to bring his family here. Carter's surprise greeting on Derek. The whole school portion in riotious uprising, laughing and playing and joking.
"[My last memory] Of Carter- who hollered "HEY!!!!" to me today and slapped me a high five and a huge grin.
" I hope, I pray, that within the next 18 months, I get emails from families. Emails that say "we adopted Sam/Duncan/Bernadette/Tyler/Marcus/Alexis /Erin/Patti/Carter/Mabel/Mason /Clarice/Greta/Pryce from Orphanage 39 and they painted this today- and the email has attached the scanned in happy, smiling family picture handmade with love.
I hope they get to know love before their chance at a family passes.
"I cannot tell you how amazing and precious it was to feel Patti crawl into my lap, or Lindsey lean against me, or to feel Carter's high five. To kiss the forehead of Alexis and Patti and to shake hands with Duncan, Sam, and Tyler- it was amazing.
"When I think of the passage in Mark 10, I think about the children themselves. What were they saying? were they like the children clustered around us at the orphanage- wanting eye contact with someone who cared and who had love in their heart for them? Did their little fingers tap the knee of Jesus, trying to get his attention? Were any of them crippled with Cerebral Palsy or arthrogryposis? Did they feel rejected by their society and need to feel his acceptance to just have the hope to keep on living?
Did one little boy watch Jesus with confusion, sadness and hope, as he walked away, as though he couldn't believe it was really happening and that their time together was over?
Like Carter did us.
"Feeling Carter's sweet little fingers, sweaty from gripping the walker with such determination, pushing against my palm in a high five, was so precious.
"If you were considering Sam, please think of Carter. Carter is bright and funny and sweet- his medical diagnoses seem intimidating, but knowing the history of EE's faulty medical evals, I wouldn't believe them until I got him home and an American doctor evaluated him. What it looks like on paper doesn't seem to match what we saw. Carter is in the regular school classes. He is sweet and funny, with a good sense of humor and timing to pull off a prank (which in itself demonstrates intelligence lol). His feet are turned way out- he walks on his ankles. Surgery or braces would be wonderful for him
" Over and over I get asked-" are you sure about what you saw with (insert name of Orph 39 kid)? He/she looks like they have such serious disabilities!".
Trust me, if I don't know, I don't say I do. I know what I'm seeing, and I cannot explain why the medical diagnoses sound so horrific, other than to say, take everything with a big ole honkin grain of salt.
So let's talk Carter. Carter is 7 years old. He'll be 8 this June. I'm not going to say he's the next Einstein, because I'm not qualified to do an educational assessment. I can tell you that he's in the "normal school classes" at the orphanage, meaning that he's learning the same things the other cognitively typical kids are learning in school. I know from looking at him, he seems like a very laidback, fun loving kid with a perfect sense of timing for practical jokes. He understands cause and effect, is able to be sneaky when surprising someone (again, a mark of intelligence). He's pretty obedient, especially compared to most 8 year old boys I know. He's not overly talkative, and honestly, he doesn't have the same persistent curiosity about how things work that Tyler has. But, he can learn things. He is teachable. He would probably go right into public school and need some pullout services for reading and math just like any other average student out there.
He's the kind of kid that would move in, blend in, and be a great brother to play with and build tents with and eat cookies with and plan adventures with and sword fight with and climb trees with.
He's the kind of kid that refused to let some labels define him. Most of the kids there with spina bifida are in wheelchairs. He's walking. Walking well, actually, either pushing his walker or his buddy's wheelchair.
He'd walk a lot better if his momma and daddy would come get him, take him to the orthopedist and get his ankles fixed.
I have one picture of the way he walks- and it's a blurry one. Kids in motion tend to result in that! So I'll try to describe it. Look at your ankles. Imagine breaking the bones in your ankles so that your foot attached to the round knobby part of the outside of your ankle. Imagine walking on the nub left where your foot had formerly been. As you walk, your sideways feet slide along, but you aren't really standing on them. That's Carter's feet.
His diagnoses sound horrible, I know that. I don't understand it. I can only tell you what I've seen.
Spina bifida is often listed in EE with congenital malformation of the central nervous system. He does have the tall head of a child that had hydrocephalus, but it isn't huge.
As for paralysis of the lower limbs, it's minor. This kiddo is very mobile. With the right medical treatment for his legs/ankles/feet, and some physical therapy, I think this little guy would be climing on the monkey gym, swinging and pumping his feet to go higher, and doing everything typical little 8 year old boys do.
The "Arnold Chiari" description can be overwhelming. Take a look here, at the National Institute of Health http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/chiari/chiari.htm. He apparently has Type II. It causes the paralysis that he's listed with.
The paralysis that doesn't stop him from walking, from pushing his buddies in their chairs, and sneaking up on kids to say "boo!".
Not a single person has inquired to me about Carter. I really don't get it, except to guess it's the labels. He's adorable- he has the cutest little chubby cheeks that plump up so sweetly when he smiles (which is often). His eyes have that mischevious little twinkle, it reminds me of the Dennis the Menace character with his cuteness. He talks, is polite, is sweet and funny and smart. When I shut my eyes, I picture Carter in a family. Do you know what I see? (And please don't be freaked out if I describe YOUR family, because I promise I am not watching through your window or anything creepy haha).
I see Carter, and a huge dinner table and a herd of brothers and sisters. I see older kids and younger kids, and Carter in the middle. They're passing around some mashed potatoes in a big green bowl and there's rolls sitting in the middle of the table. He has a sister, about his age, with blonde pigtails that have just a bit of curl in them. He has brothers, that don't look like him, but that are laughing and thumping green peas at each other with him. The dad is at the end of the table and he's laughing as the older kids chatter about everything in their days. For some reason, the dad looks like he has brown hair, but it could be the lighting in the room. The mom has lighter hair and she's feeding a younger child, a toddler I think.
And Carter looks so happy it makes me want to shout with joy!
Carter looks loved. He looks like he's found his place in the world. His family looks happy.
But right now, Carter's wonderful family is just in my imagination.
I hate labels. I hate that a funny, smart, adorable little boy is getting passed over because people read his diagnosis list and think "too much" or "too hard". I hate it especially because I know how inaccurate the medical system there is, and I don't know how much, if any, of it is true (although I won't argue with any of it, because it might all be true, I just don't know).
I do know that he's not a vegetable. He's not cognitively impaired to where he won't ever function in the real world. He's not overly charming with strangers, nor does he have an aggressive streak that I've noticed.
There's nothing about him that would keep me from going back and adopting him.
Except we don't have any leading from God that we're supposed to.
So I'm praying that the lack of peace for us means God has ordained a different family for Carter. I'm praying that Carter's family just gets a link to this post and realizes he's the missing piece of their family puzzle. I'm praying it happens soon.
Do you know why I'm praying Carter's family finds him soon?
Because before they took the pictures of Carter last year (in the striped shirt), they asked which kids wanted to be adopted and have a family. He was six then, about to turn seven.
And again this Februrary, he was asked again if he wanted to have his picture taken, if he wanted them to try to find him a family.
He said yes, both times.
But no one has ever come for him.
I wonder what a 6 year old, a 7 year old, an almost 8 year old thinks when someone asks him if he wants a mama and daddy, and he says yes, and then no one comes.
I imagine how it would have felt if my husband's family had asked me if I wanted to marry him, and I said yes, and then he never proposed. Praise God, he did propose and we've had a lovely marraige thus far and looking forward to many more years of the same!
I wonder how I would have felt if God has asked me if I wanted to be saved, to be adopted as His own, then never saved me. Praise God, He did save me and make me His own!
Carter- the little boy who plays, learns, laughs, talks, walks, and is absolutely cuddly and adorable.
Carter- who is more than just a list of labels that may or may not even be accurate.
A private message to Carter's future family: I don't know you, or at least I don't think I do. But God does and He knows your heart. And there is comfort in that, no matter where you're at or what's going on in your mind. As I was typing this, I prayed and asked God for guidance as to what to type. I'm a terrible Scripture memorizer and so I simply asked God for a reference to look up. He gave me Phillipians 4:6. I looked it up and was shocked to see it is a verse I know quite well- just didn't recognize the reference. Here it is: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." I cannot say it is a "message from God", only that it was laid on my heart and I felt like I should share it. You are loved, and I know that God's timing is always perfect, even if I impatiently want to see all of the kids at 39 adopted immediately. I will pray for you and continue to trust the One who knows all and is always right. Blessings![To read this entire post go here]
"Because Carter wanted a family too. And so does Marcus- poor sweet, self conscious Marcus. And Patti. And Erin.
" Because I know that as hard as it is for me, at least I have my memories. And my husband and our daughter and the love we share.
And Patti doesn't. Patti is all alone, in the bed with the pink blanket and the white pillowcase. And Erin is right there across from her in her own little bed. And down the hall in another room are Carter and Marcus and in another room are Greta and Clarice and Mabel.
And they're waiting. Alone. And they don't have the memories I do- of a mom kissing my forehead goodnight and a dad that pulled the covers up to my chin. They don't have a mommy to tell their joys to or a daddy to call when things are tough and you need someone to fix things.
"Marcus and Carter are going to grieve when Tyler and Pryce leave.
"And then came the hard part with Emma. Well, once we told her Patti had a family and was coming to America on the airplane, she was so excited. But then she started naming off the other kids left behind. That's the problem with adopting an older kid who is quite smart- she gets more than sometimes you want to accept.
So as she named other kids' names- like the real names for Carter, Marcus, and Erin, I had to say no. She looked so devastated. "No mama papa ?" Nyet, Emma, no mama papa for him.
"And I'm sure that Erin will probably go to lunch and sit there, in a room full of open spots (because the two groupas go to lunch together, boys and girls), and wonder, "why not me?"
Carter and Marcus will probably be sitting there as well, wondering, why not us?
Maybe the three of them will talk about it. Maybe they'll go to the psychologist's office together and get counseled and supported.
Because last year, when the Director asked "who wants a family?", they raised their hands too.
"How is Marcus going to feel? He was so cautious, his heart guarded. When he sees the others leave with families, and his little heart remembers that he too asked for a family, he's going to realize that no one chose him. The same is true for Carter.
THAT is what is hurting me right now.
Those kids are going to remember that hubby and I were there. They're going to remember our talking to them, with our facilitator, and that their pictures were taken.
And when families start showing up, EVERY kid there is going to be talking about how you can just ask for a family and God will send one. Because to them, that is what happened. Every time we were asked, we told them we would try our best and we would trust God to send them a family.
Oh, my breaking heart, what is it going to do to them to not be chosen?
Erin. Marcus. Carter.
We must pray.
The only thing worse than being chosen last is not being chosen at all.
"Carter looks nervous in his RR picture. I was there when it was taken. He was nervous. Solemn. Serious. Observant.
He looks tense doesn't he? Hopeful but resigned at the same time? Scared to really look and share his heart, for fear he'll be rejected and passed over again?
This is Carter too, cropped from a picture with his friends- one of which was being adopted. He looks a bit sad here too, as though he knows the person that was getting picked wasn't him, and that his chance was low of getting picked.
Do you see what I mean about him standing on his ankles funny? He really needs some AFO's and good PT/medical care so he can run and play.
I get it, you know. I get that it can be scary for a family to even consider a kid, an older kid, who looks so serious. You might be wondering what he's thinking or if he can even laugh and enjoy life, or love.
This is the Carter that we saw in January and February, every time: This is the cutie pie that snuck up and yelled BOO to his buddy after lunch. This is the cutie pie that gave me high fives and got so tickled laughing that he made me laugh and bring tears to my eyes, seeing his joy. He's a darling- a spunky, "all boy" kind of little guy. He's just meant to be somebody's little brother, in a family that loves practical jokes and little boys just being boys. He needs to catch lizards, climb trees, eat ice cream in the summer so it drips down his chin and go fishing with his big brother and dad and grandpa. He's sweet and funny and full of energy and a really good friend to those around him.
He doesn't need to spend yet another year sitting in an orphanage, even a really good orphanage. wondering why no one chose him."
This kid needs a family. On his RR page, he has barely any information.
"Boy, Born June 2004
From his medical records: Spina bifida; congenital defect of central nervous system; Arnold-Chiari syndrome; Lower paraparesis; combined hydrocephaly
From his caregivers: The boy is very smart, friendly, and communicative. He wants be adopted.
More photos available, married couples only."
3 sentences. That is all he has about him. 18 words. I'm going to talk to Andrea or whoever makes these, because 18 words isn't going to get him a family. Look above at how much information Renee gave about him. THAT is what his family needs to see.
Carter has Arnold- Chiari just like Sullivan (now Sam) does. And now Sam is home with his family. Give Carter that chance.